Friday, 13 April 2012

An Interview with the Author of 'Crave', Melissa Darnell


Melissa Darnell was born in California and grew up in East Texas. A former award-winning dancer with 12 years' formal training in jazz, tap, and ballet, she currently lives in South Dakota with her husband and two children, where she enjoys watching Whale Wars, UFC matches and True Blood, trying out new hair colours, designing fun stuff to sell in the virtual world of Second Life, and of course writing her latest book!

Melissa, a very warm welcome to the Secret Writer Blog! Can I begin our interview by asking what sort of books did you read and like when you were a teenager?

Most of the books I read as a kid at the public library weren't really age appropriate, lol (The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson and Stephen King's Pet Cemetary both spring to immediate mind). The library was only a few blocks from our house, so I was allowed to ride my bicycle over to it. And because I was such a constant presence there, the librarians didn't seem to notice when I snuck over to the adult section to read. I also read a lot of Anne Rice (given to me by a great aunt), as well as borrowed copies of my mother's Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown romances...which probably explains my tendency to write paranormal and fantasy romances now!

The few books I did read that were age appropriate were Nancy Drew books, Sweet Valley High, and some awesome Avon contemporary teen romances that still stay with me to this day. 
Did you always want to be a writer?
I've always been a writer, but it wasn't until 2007 that my hubby convinced me to actually consider becoming a novelist. He was the one who pushed me to submit my adult romances for publication, and later gave me the courage to submit Crave, my first YA novel, for publication as well.
Where do you like to do your writing best?
In an enclosed room all alone. Otherwise I tend to want to get instant feedback on what I've just written from others in the room with me!
When did you develop an interest in magic, paranormal worlds,secret powers and vampires?
I first read Anne Rice's The Witching Hour when I was about fourteen, I believe. Ever since, I've loved the idea of having magical powers passed on through the generation of one's family.
What inspired you to write 'The Clann' Series?
When the YA vampire craze started to take off, as a long time lover of vamp romances I was thrilled but felt the genre was really missing something...namely a vampire heroine. Why should the boys get all the fun here?! But I wanted to see her start off as a normal, clueless human and then have to experience this crazy transformation process as well as learn how to deal with the final result of becoming a vampire. 
I also wanted a real Romeo and Juliet forbidden kind of love, one where both the hero and heroine were equally powerful, equally interesting in a paranormal way, and equally dangerous to each other so the forbidden aspect of their love would have a huge rippling effect not just on each other but on their worlds as well. When I considered what kind of hero could possibly be as strong and powerful as a vamp, the answer seemed natural...a male witch.
Did you have to undertake any research before writing 'Crave'?
I research as I go so I don't slow down the process of getting the rough draft onto paper. Sometimes the research requires some changes to what I've written, but usually it just adds some realistic details that can then be woven into the story where needed. For Crave, I wanted a "plausible" basis for a race of vampires who could feed off of both blood and a kiss, so I did some research on demon and vampire mythology and found the legen of Lillith (more details with links on this are available at the Clann Series website at http://www.TheClannSeries.com).
Do you have a say in choosing the covers for your books?
For the U.S. version, I submitted some general ideas to my editor, then the awesome cover designers at Harlequin ran with them. I got to see several mock-ups of various different possible designs, upon which my agent, editor and I all tossed around some revision ideas. Then the cover designers took those suggestions and came up with the final beautiful design. My editor is also really great about asking for my feedback on the back cover copy.
For the foreign versions, however, authors are not usually consulted nor do we generally get to see the designs before they are revealed to the public. So for those versions, you'll generally see some pretty widely varying designs that may or may not reflect the original version's cover. So far, I've been beyond lucky to get some pretty awesome covers on the foreign versions!
Can you let us into any secrets about your next book in this series, 'Covet'?
While I don't want to give too much away, I can say that several characters die (insert evil author laugh here, lol). Look for a new paranormal race to join the lineup in Covet as well.
Thank you so much for having me here today! Please be sure to visit my websites at http://www.TheClannSeries.com and http://www.melissadarnell.com for updates on the release of Crave's sequel, Covet, as well as to learn more about the Clann, Savannah's race of vampires, to listen to the online playlist for each Clann Series book, as well as to contact me anytime!







A modern day Romeo and Juliet with a paranormal twist.
Bloodlust. Magic. Forbidden secrets.
When Savannah Colbert returns to school after a mystery illness, the fact that she has changed is clear to everyone. None more so than every school girls golden boy Tristan Coleman. Ever since their first kiss in fourth grade, Savannah and Tristan have been cruelly and inexplicably banned from associating with each other. Now, as the pair navigate the tricky social life of high school, the truth is about to be revealed. 
As Savannah learns of their paranormal ancestry and Tristan deals with the repercussions of her new powers, the relationship they have been denied for so long becomes utterly irresistible and all consuming. Like Romeo and Juliet centuries before them, Savannah and Tristan’s love is destined to fail; and Tristan’s powerful magical family, the Clann, are watching. 
Combining the paranormal worlds of witches, vampires and incubi with the realities of life in a Texan high school, Crave allows the reader equal doses of fantasy and reality. Told from both Savannah and Tristan’s points of view, Melissa Darnell manages to deftly explore universal themes of growing up, forbidden love and defying parents.

To enter my monthly 'GFC Followers' Draw for a free copy of 'Crave', just click on the link below for details.

                                              'CLICK HERE'

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